God has worked in profound ways during this past week. Since today is the Lord’s Day, I’d like to share one such example of how we have observed this divine grace in action.
On Friday evening we were visited by a neighbor and fellow church member. Since last year when he underwent an urgent neck surgery this friend has been unable to work. As a small business owner these months of unemployment have been catastrophic for him and his family. Between financial pressure, intense neck pain, and little improvement of his physical condition, the last year has been difficult beyond imagination. However, dark and depressing as all of this has been, it became the very thing that God used to bless Elton. In other words, out of this friend’s personal pain, he was able to express heartfelt encouragement and hope in ways that very few people could. And it came on the very day when Elton needed it most, during his sharpest post-surgery pain.
For me, as a pastor and friend, I can’t begin to express how significant it was to watch this happen. On point after point my friend empathized with Elton like an anointed prophet sent directly from the throne room of God. It was an hour full of joke-telling and mirth punctuated by moments of explicit compassion. When it was finished, I realized that I had just observed the truth about which Paul the Apostle writes in 2 Corinthians 1:4
[The Lord] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
The following photos are of Elton from this afternoon. When the temperature rose to a balmy 55 degrees we went outside to eat ice-pops. Yes, we are ready from spring!